Henry, Ernie [Ernest Albert] (New York, 3 Sept 1926 - New York, 29 Dec 1957)


Alto saxophonist


He learned violin as a child but changed to saxophone at the age of 12. In 1947 Tadd Dameron began to show an interest in his playing and made him known to musicians who worked in the clubs on 52nd Street; as a result he performed with Dameron, Fats Navarro, Charlie Ventura, Max Roach, Georgie Auld, and Kenny Dorham. After working with Dizzy Gillespie's big band (1948-9) Henry joined Illinois Jacquet (1950), with whom he recorded in 1952. He played only occasionally from 1952 until 1956, but then became a member of Thelonious Monk's group, with which he made some particularly fine recordings (1956, 1957). He also recorded with Matthew Gee (1956) and Dorham (1957), and as a leader. In 1957 he performed and recorded with Gillespie's re-formed big band. Although Henry's playing in the late 1940s and early 1950s was influenced by Charlie Parker, his later recordings show that he was beginning to develop a strongly individual style.


Lawrence Koch


The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Macmillan Reference Ltd 1988